Dragging ourselves away to colonial splendour!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of El Salvador  ,
Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wake up at about 2.30 as the first cockerel starts to crow.  This wakes them all up.  I am not sure how or why but virtually every place we have stayed in the world there have been damn cockerels crowing all times of day and night.  After 5 minutes of random crowing they stop.  I imagine that Brian (his name in my head) the cockerel who started all the crowing has realised it is not in fact sunrise and he got it wrong and has apologised to his cockerel friends.
2 hours later I wake again, and guess what?  Brian has done it again.
I have yet to actually hear a cock crowing anytime near sunrise itself.  Reckon its Brianīs fault for waking them all up in the middle of the night.
I drag myself sleepily out of bed at about 6ish and we start to leave which is sad.  I will miss this place.  I could seriously move here if they had some shops with bread.
We pay our bill and say our goodbyes and get the bus out to El Congo where we walk down the slipway to the autopista.  In the lay by are a loud of football fans waiting for the bus to take them to the match.  We flag down the first one heading for San Salvador and squeeze ourselves and our bags on.  I perch on the corner of a seat for a while as we zoom along this great motorway.  We arrive in the outskirts of San Salvador with various huge new housing estates like something from El Dorado.  Then the various fast food outlets and the sprawl of the city before we hit the slow narrow streets of the centre and are dropped off at the occidente bus terminal. Get the number 34 bus outside to the Oriente bus terminal through town catching tiny glimpses of churches in the centre.  Looks like some nice stuff here.  Although this capital has not got a great reputation for safety (as with most Central American capitals).
At the other terminal we find the bus for Suchitoto and pile on again with our rucksacks at the back.  We get on our way.  First through the huge market of San Marco which takes ages to drive through and then out into the country and we then approach our destination, Suchitoto.
We have heard this is a lovely colonial town and it is.

Very small, very quaint.  We arrive around the corner from the main square with its white, almost Greek looking church dominating.  We trundle to a couple of hotels which seem pricey and find our cheapest available and dump our stuff.  Then through the cobble streets past the one storey buildings with red tiled roofs.  Many have Christmas decorations and some even have snow men or fake snow outside (surreal in this temperature).  Back in the square we see a few fellow tourists, our first in a while, and then head into the plain church and onto the market.  Have a snack in the square before deciding to dodge the heat for a bit in the internet cafe.
Later on we walk down towards Lake Suchitlan about 20 mins away.  The lake is beautiful and much larger than Coatepeque with green islands and islets in the middle.  Lots of locals are down by the shore getting boats, buying food or looking at the tourist tat.  We have a wander and start to walk back uphill to a restaurant.

We start talking to the owner, Ralli who is El Salvadorean but lived in Canada for a while and hence has great English.  As we have prawns and manta ray (yes cooked manta ray feel cruel for eating such a beautiful creature though) we watch another sunset and try to avoid the mossies.  Ralli tells us about El Salvador and local politics. He is adamant it wasnt a civil war here but just terrorists trying to take over and create disruption.  I know little of the situation but am inclined to agree with him.  He is incredibly anti-communist and is full of stories about their hypocrisy and corruption.  As he is not a communist they are trying to charge him extortionate amounts of money to get water or electricity connected here.   He also tells us that there were a lot more tourists here a few years ago and it has gone down, he doesnt know why.  He also thinks the people are less friendly than they used to be, possibly due to all the horrific things they have had to endure.  I am sure more tourists will come back here soon, I hope it doesnīt ruin the country though as its friendliness has been the highlight for us.
After our chat Ralliīs mum has arrived in her pick up to give him and the waitresses a lift back into town. We hop on the back and get a lift to the church where we procure some cold drinks and sit in the square.  Locals look at us like we have nicked their bench to sit on and children play on the dry fountain.
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